GUN VIOLENCE & SMALL ARMS PROLIFERATION

STOPPING GUN VIOLENCE

Veterans for Peace - Go Home

In the United States every day, seventy-seven people are shot to death; they are the casualties of war, a war caused by guns.  That's almost 30,000 Americans killed annually by firearms.  For many of us who are veterans, we have participated in the violence of war.  We have precipitated and experienced the consequences caused by weapons - as a medic in Viet Nam I tried to save a Marine shot multiple times with an AK-47.  We know the death and tragedy that guns cause.   Shootings wreak havoc from the inner city to rural communities:

 

Controlling gun violence does NOT mean amending the constitution; controlling gun violence does NOT mean denying an individual’s right to bear arms.  The legislation described below is simply a start at diminishing the supply of guns flooding our streets. The death and injury caused by guns in the United States is unacceptable and unnecessary.  There is no reason that we must perpetuate the cycle of violence caused by firearms. 

 

Pennsylvanians have a serious problem: Illegal handgun trafficking. It's a big reason why over a thousand Pennsylvanians were shot to death last year, and why police and federal agents recovered over seven thousand illegal handguns throughout the state. Criminals exploit gaps in Pennsylvania's gun laws to buy handguns in bulk, then sell them on the streets at a huge profit. Buying multiple handguns in a short time frame allows traffickers to quickly amass an arsenal of weapons, and then unload them on the black market to thugs willing to pay top dollar.  If we truly want to enforce the law, we've got to give our police the tools they need. Reasonable purchase limits are a proven way to reduce illegal handgun traffic.  We also need to have a state-wide assault weapons ban.

Globally 1,000 people die every day because of guns. In the United States each day over 80 people, 8 who are under nineteen, die because of gun violence. There are 640 million guns in the world; 8 million guns are manufactured every year, along with 10-14 billion units of ammunition, enough to kill everyone on earth twice over. Small arms proliferation is a local and global crisis - when guns are more easily available, people are more likely to die and be injured, whether on our streets or in war. It is easy for gun traffickers to arm dangerous criminals and others due to weak laws at the state, federal and international laws. These weapons are produced in over 90 countries by more than 1200 companies.  The legal global small arms market is estimated at $4 billion and the illegal market is estimated at close to $1 billion. Small arms are easy to obtain, readily available and are the primary tools used to kill, threaten and intimidate civilian populations.

 As stated by Kofi Annan, at the UN’s Small Arms Review Conference: “We do not wish to deny law-abiding citizens their right to bear arms. . . Our energy and our anger are directed against illegal weapons.  Our targets remain unscrupulous arms brokers, corrupt officials, criminals, and others who bring death and mayhem into our communities.  To halt the destructive march of armed conflict and crime, we must stop such purveyors of death”.

From the rural roads of Darfur to the streets of Philadelphia, guns are wreaking a swath of death and loss. Small arms and light weapons have  been called weapons of individual destruction; hundreds of thousands of people die every year from wounds caused by these weapons in both war zones and countries at peace. In outright violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, warring parties in many of today’s conflicts target noncombatants. Civilians suffer the most from the effects of such fighting. Humanitarian organizations and peacekeepers often find it difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish their life-saving missions in small arms-infested regions. Beyond injuries and the loss of life, the wide availability of handguns creates a climate of fear and lawlessness. The escalating proliferation of gun violence creates an environment which fosters a culture that engenders the acceptance of the violence of   war.  Weapons easily and frequently fall into the hands of violent militias and human rights abusers. Irresponsible arms transfers exacerbate violent conflicts, perpetuate poverty and underdevelopment, and contribute to countless violations of human rights and humanitarian law.

The United States is one of the largest gun manufacturing, gun importing, and gun exporting nations.  More than 300 U.S. companies produce arms and/or ammunition

Websites like gunmanufacturer.com or gunnersden.com list the vast selection of US manufactured handguns, rifles, etc. available from companies  like Colt Firearms,  Wesson Firearms,  Freedom Arms, Hi Point Firearms, or Impact Guns.  These companies promise:

 

“Machine Guns are a specialty here at Impact. They are very easy to purchase, and are a great investment. We have put together information about owning and using a machine gun in our Reference library (click here): Feel free to contact us about a trade-in or sell of an assault rifle.  To order Assault Rifles and High-capacity Magazines, click here”

 
“Hi-Point Firearms manufactures semi-automatic handguns in several calibers, as well as semi-automatic Carbines. All Hi-Point Firearms are made in the United States of America with no imported components or parts. They are available at a very affordable price.”

 

And in an offer that seems made for folks using straw purchasers:

“Whether you are the original purchaser, or a third-hand owner, your Hi-Point firearm will be repaired free of charge.”

Fear, pain, and death are the price we and the world are paying for easy access to guns; access which is shattering lives.

Gun control means sensible laws to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals.  Gun control does NOT mean amending the constitution. Gun control does NOT mean denying an individual’s "right to bear arms".

 

Following are some ways to stop needless gun violence:

  • Most urgently, we are asking for the renewal of the Federal Assault Weapons Law, passed in 1994 prohibiting the manufacture, sale and importation of military-style, semi-automatic assault weapons and ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds. The law will expire in September 2004 unless Congress and the President renew it. If the law is not reauthorized, the manufacture and sale of AK-47s, UZIs, other assault weapons, and high-capacity ammunition clips will once again be legal.
  • Putting Limits on the Gun Industry -The firearms industry is virtually the last unregulated manufacturer of a consumer product, despite the fact that firearms kill far more Americans every year than all other household and recreational products combined. Congress must implement meaningful restrictions on the lethal products the gun industry can make and sell.  
  • Regulating gun sales which take place outside of retail venues. This "secondary" market includes firearm purchases at gun shows, over the Internet, and through classified advertisements; which are exempt from the Brady Law's background check requirements.  Congress must act to ensure that this segment of the gun market is subject to background checks in order to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, children, and the mentally unstable.  

Here are some steps we can take to end this epidemic of violence:

  • Educate ourselves and others about the deadly consequences of  small arms proliferation & gun violence.
  • Join and support local, national, and international organizations which work to reduce the number of guns.
  • Demand that the Governor and Pennsylvania legislators shake the hold of the NRA and pass sensible gun laws.
  • Demand that  our members of Congress and the Administration have the US join Small Arms Trade Treaty  which would regulate the arms trade to prevent weapons falling into the hands of those who would use them for serious abuses and unlawful acts.
  • Support assistance programs for victims

We must do all we can to foster a culture of peace which promotes alternatives to  guns, violence and war. 

 

We must stop the carnage.

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Uzi assault weapon for sale on the net.

 

 

 

 

WE MUST DO ALL WE CAN TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE.

Veterans for Peace          www.veteransforpeace.org/

 

 

    

 

 

 

 

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